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Imperfectly Perfect used car. Need help...

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I can see this dilemma unfolding in the near future...

Say one finds a relatively rare model E36 that has had multiple owners and no paper trail and no way to find out the bulk of the car's history. However, it has low miles (for the year), looks well maintained, is okay'ed by a trusted local BMW shop and can be purchased at a fair (non-gouged) price.

Speaking from your personal experience, would YOU buy a car found is such a state? :dunno:

Sherlock Jen
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I did, and in the last year, I have put close to 3k into it....
Oh crap...I didn't want to hear that :yikes: Did you have a PPI done by a BMW mechanic?


PS...sorry for the pain & frustration this must have caused you!
No PPI, but I bought it at a price that I was comfortable with if it did have problems.

FYI most of the money was put into mods that replaced worn out parts. I could have done the minimum maintenance for less than 1K. For example, I have bought 3 sets of tires in the last year...

I wouldn't hesitate to purchase a car like the one you mentioned. I do all my own work though, so its not a big deal to fix something major.
OK Sherlock :rofl: (Jen) ,

Two things to consider

(1) If the PPI shows nothing major, that's a big plus, but

(2) why has it had multiple owners for the low mileage? Is it a garage queen? This could well be the case if it is indeed rare and the prior owners knew it. If it was a common model, it would raise a red flag. Low miles/many owners usually spells lemon.

I'd buy it if the PPI came back clean.
Same, had a PPI too! I didn't get a "True" PPI because the guy wrote on the bill of sale that I had exactly 1 month to drive it around, get it looked at and decide if I wanted it or not and if not I could bring it back, couldn't have made the decision much easier ha. :) the guy really didn't want to sell but was getting married and needed the money to make ends meet with the marriage coming, luckily for me, his wife took my DSLR as partial trade so I was able to keep some cash(still looking for a new dslr, I wanted to upgrade anyways so it made it easy) Make that the last 5 months lol, but a lot of the things i've replaced have been for modifications sake and strengthening the natural characteristics of the e36 chassis. Only had to replace the oil/filter/air filter/ an injector(100$ wholesale price from bmw)/ and several mech fans(couldn't find out why on earth my fan kept blowing up until the third one lol) Each time it was a different story, but the real cause behind it was the motor mounts(one had literally ripped in half and the other was on its way and leaked its hydraulic fluid) Also my shocks were shot( but that is something that should be expected of any car with 100k+)

All in all though, I have loved e36 M3s for as long as I can remember, and have dreamed of owning all generations of the M3 line. This car will be my future track rat so I have given it an excellent foundation.

My car hasn't gotten many miles since i've had it though, all the miles she gets are hard, revving the balls off it up in the twisty back roads in no mans land, so having low mileage doesn't concern me, it being a lemon shouldn't be the first thing you think of when a car has low mileage for its year. Many people have 2 or more cars, or have a separate work vehicle like my dad, he never drives his cars but maintains them well and keeps them all in the garage. If its a sketchy looking dude, consider yourself warned.
I did, and in the last year, I have put close to 3k into it....
hey, I sketch, and i'm a dude...:eek:

i guess that makes me sketchy-er than most, eh?? :D

to shirlock jen, i figure if it's gone through a ppi from a trusted source, and the price is right, i say go for it. i would plan on a little bit for maintenance items, but the ppi should give you a better idea as to what to expect with that regard.

and if you were not aware of it, pics are a must. so pictarz of said e36 will be expected as soon as the decision to purchase a suitable unit has been made, k?? :)

If its a sketchy looking dude, consider yourself warned.
My E 36 is not rare, 325ISs represent about 1% of total E36 production, the only thing special I can claim about it is that I have yet to see an other coupe with the same paint.
I bought it with high miles(226K), no PPI, no service records beyond what the guy told me, post purchase record check showed 6 previous owners, craigslist ad had no pictures, I had to drive 150 miles to see it, and got there at night so a thorough inspection was out of the question.
Basically, had I followed the advice of just about every on here (myself included) I should have run away. But I called the guy and chatted with him for awhile and once he figured out I was an enthusiast he said that if I told him I wanted it he would take down the add and wait the couple days it would take me to hitch a ride because he wanted it taken care of.
In the 15 months and 23,000 miles I've owned it it was not put a toe out of line and so far my expenses for it have run just short of $1000 beyond the initial purchase price, and that's a healthy mix of maintenance and elective surgery.

So, in short, yes, if you have the green light from a good mechanic I would not hesitate to buy a low mile many owner car.
Do it if the price is low. Haggle with him to bring the price down for no paper trails. Use the money saved to upgrade/replace.
Thanks all for your responses...particularly the barganing chip about offsetting undocumented maintenance expenses against the purchase price :thumbup:.

I'm going to find out more over the next few days and potentially go visit the car later next week. Current owner getting their own PPI done as we speak..and they have no issue having me doing the same. So at least it sounds like they are not actively trying to hide anything.

I shall certainly keep this thread posted and provide pics should the stable increase in size...

Thanks again...

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